What is Cloud Storage?
Data is one of your most valuable assets. And keeping that data secure is absolutely essential these days. But how can you store your data properly? Let's take a close look at your options in this introduction to cloud storage.
Data storage, in various forms, has been around for quite some time. Traditionally, businesses tried to backup data via portable backup solutions (such as very retro tapes, for example). However, data loss is still a frequent problem that most companies have to deal with - along with the associated waste of time, money and potentially permanently lost information. As bandwidth and capacity optimisation technology improves, more and more companies seem to favour cloud storage as a valuable alternative to portable media solutions. But what is it really?
What is cloud storage?
Essentially, the cloud refers to any software or service that run on the backbone of the internet instead of strictly on your computer or mobile device. In other words, every time you upload a photo of your dog on a social media channel, or learn yet another Italian phrase on Duolingo, you're utilising cloud services. Arguably, the greatest benefit of cloud services is that you can access your data from anywhere - as long as you have an internet connection, that is.
In a nutshell, cloud backup works by sending a copy of your data to an off-site server. You, as a customer, pay a fee to the server host, which is usually a third-party provider. The cost of cloud storage is based on the capacity, bandwidth or numbers of users you need. In addition, the subscription tend to run on either a monthly or yearly basis, making it an OpEX cost. Transitioning costs to a recurring operating expense allows for your budget to be more effective and predictable. Not to mention, it's easy for you to cancel or downsize your cloud subscription at any time.
Today, there are three main methods of cloud data backup: Software-as-a-Service (Saas), pure cloud and Hybrid. The most popular option is SaaS, which is a web-based application that you can access via your web browser. With a pure cloud system, on the other hand, you can automatically copy your data directly to the cloud. Lastly, with a hybrid service you can copy data to an installed storage that resides between your infrastructure and the cloud. This solution, as the name reveals, comprises on- and off-premise components.
What are the Benefits of Cloud Storage?
Cloud-based storage solutions can bring a wide range of benefits to your organisation. Let’s dive in and see how you can benefit from cloud power.
- Decrease Costs
A cloud solution works off your current infrastructure, so there’s absolutely no need to buy or install new and expensive equipment. The software integrates with your IT system to locate and prioritise files for backup, and then securely transmits encrypted copies to offsite data centres. Overall, this is a more cost-effective solution compared to buying and maintaining other systems.
- Save Time
A cloud-based backup solution will save you time as well as money. Your files will be backed up automatically and continuously as long as you have an internet connection. Additionally, a web-based system makes files easy to find and restore - meaning that you will spend less time on menial tasks.
- Drama-free Security
A cloud-based system encrypts files to be backed up for transmission, and it ensures that remain encrypted until they reach their final destination. There is only one decryption key - and it’s kept by you. This is much more secure than an unencrypted on-data backup system.
- Instant Access
Storing data in the cloud means that users can access their data anywhere, at any time, wherever there is an Internet connection. A Hybrid system offers the best of both worlds, as it circumvents the limitations of either an on-premise or a purely Cloud-based solution. The hybrid cloud device offers the advantage of retaining data locally to smooth out transport to the cloud and in case restores are required. It eliminates the need for a complete second data centre or other off-site repository. If you only have one data centre, you can take your back-up data and add it to the Cloud. This data can be retrieved at any time, but with the additional advantage of being able to restore it to a different site.
With that being said, let's take a closer look at some of the best cloud storage providers of 2019.
This solution is made for consumers and small to mid-size businesses. They are available to both Windows and Mac users, and can back up documents, emails, music, photos and settings. Carbonite offer two cloud data backup plans catering to two types of users: Carbonite Personal, which is tailored towards individuals and home offices, and Carbonite for Business, which offers more complex Cloud and software-based solutions for enterprises.
Instead of just offering remote server storage, CrashPlan allows a user to use any computer connected to the Internet or a local drive as a backup target. If you have your own storage, then the software is completely free, but buying a one-computer paid plan from CrashPlan will give you unlimited storage. CrashPlan’s interface is very simple and easy to use, perfect for small business just starting out.
A feverishly quick backup and storage service, IDrive offers an unlimited number of machines that can be included in one account. Within the system is a service called Continuous Data Protection, which allows the user to store important files every ten minutes, backing data up on a remote server. Other alternatives to conventional online backup are offered, including its IDrive Express service, which lets you backup files using a physical drive it sends you when you open up your account. The USB drive can store up to one terabyte of data without congesting your Internet connection. File restoration is intuitive and extraordinarily fast.
What makes SOS exceptional is the special features it provides, including the ability to wipe and locate devices, perform remote backup, and easily control bandwidth. All versions of a file can be saved indefinitely. SOS offer security options that go beyond its competitors; its safest security choice, the reassuringly titled UltraSafe Max, means that not only with SOS staff not be able to gain access to your encryption key, but files can only be decrypted on your own computer running the SOS software with a separate passphrase from your account password.
You may be convinced that your data backup system should be Cloud-based, or that your existing on-premise system should be upgraded. Your next step is to choose a solution, but with so much Cloud data backup, catering to a variety of different sizes and types of business, which one do you go for? This is a decision that can cost your business valuable time as well as money.
Software Advisory Service are here to help. We can offer non-chargeable, impartial advice from our team of experts, and create a tailored shortlist of software vendors for you, based on your specific business requirements. Contact us via the form below.
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